Uche Usim, Abuja
For Nigeria to bridge the yawning infrastructural gap, a concerted efforts to invest $100 billion annually for, at least,s six years will be required.
This was the position of the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, while hosting a delegation from the World Bank, led by the Senior Economist (Economics and Private Sector Development), Mr. Volker Treichel, which visited the Bureau in Abuja recently.
According to him, the next phase of the reform and privatisation programme of the Federal Government will focus strongly on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as the private sector remains vital partners of the government in the urgent task of addressing the infrastructural deficit in the country.
He said: “The country’s infrastructure gap is huge as it is estimated that Nigeria needs to invest more than three trillion dollars in the next 30 years to bridge the gap; and average of $100 billion per annum for the next six years.”
Okoh, who was represented by Director, Infrastructure and Public Private Partnership Department of the Bureau, Mallam Sanusi Sule, said the new phase would target reforms mostly in the utility and infrastructure sectors, which include water resources, railways, airports and highways.
He stated that the need for refocusing on PPP was borne out of the increasing budgetary constraints to fund the development of new infrastructure and effectively maintain existing ones; deteriorating infrastructure (dilapidated roads, schools, hospitals etc); higher public expectations in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure service delivery.
According to him, the country’s infrastructure stock was too low for any meaningful development and that “the public sector cannot afford to provide the resources required to bridge the huge infrastructural gap”.
He added that the most feasible option was to attract private sector investments and that the Bureau was working assiduously with key stakeholders to come up with a robust framework and process for implementing and managing PPPs in the country. In his remarks, Treichel said the visit was part of the World Bank private sector diagnostic assessment of the Public sector in Nigeria.
He added that the bank was also looking for opportunities to provide short term assistance to the Bureau in the next three years.